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When Absolut announced that it would be transforming a pier in Red Hook into "one of the most exciting clubs in New York City and the world," it seemed too good to be true. For a New York resident, Red Hook is synonymous with a giant IKEA, factory-style buildings, and a cooler temperature from bordering the Hudson River. So how could they turn a dock into a game-changing nightclub?
The key to this event, and the three others Absolut is hosting worldwide (in Johannesburg, Berlin, and São Paulo), is a unique collaboration with an artist. For the event in Red Hook, Vita Motus, the design studio of Heather Shaw, used the power of light (and a giant orb) to amplify the energy and suspense for the eventual surprise guest DJ, Zedd (who arrived in a flood of white light from a shipping container). Shaw has experience in creating memorable, one-of-a-kind live events, from the hologram of M.I.A. and Janelle Monae performing together in New York and L.A. simultaneously to Pharrell's stage design at Coachella and A$AP Rocky's stage design on tour.
Before Zedd, DJs Alvin Risk and Araabmuzik took the stage and played against a golden New York City skyline. When they weren't on stage dropping a mix of their own songs and electronic staples, they were enjoying the party themselves. Baauer hung out backstage, in addition to Alex Karpovsky from the TV show Girls.
The event was not only fun for the people who attended and sampled an array of Absolut cocktails, it was (low-key) the set of a music video. Cameras and crew were subtly present high and low, documenting the fun partygoers were having—from walking through a curving path lined by shipping containers to the site of Vita Motus' party mecca.
The core of the "Absolut Nights" experience in Red Hook was the intersection of nightlife and creativity. While a great DJ set or a top performer can make a night unforgettable, it's often the atmosphere, energy, and the people you meet that comprise the creativity.
Walking out of the party and seeing my shadow from the displaced light of the orb, I realized how well the event was architected from entrance to exit. It wasn't as extreme as a lot of parties tend to be—either boring and under-stimulating or over-produced and over-stimulating. Looking back at the Manhattan skyline and seeing a union with the colors and light created by Vita Motus, it became clear that the event was just right.